A prosaic lack of women in the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets
It’s almost 100 years since women were granted franchise, and a start to some kind of social equality. If you were 30 or over, you could vote. Given what voting rights imply in terms of adult equality, it’s a strange thing to still find it necessary to speak out about women and Irish literature. A pattern becomes apparent, given historic concerns about the Field Day Anthology, and more recently issues surrounding the exclusion of women from the National Theatre (#wakingthefeminists).
You imagine certain things have been achieved, or understood. That men and women stand side by side in the social, intellectual and philosophical experiment of life. Then by chance you read about the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets, edited by poet Prof Gerald Dawe of TCD. The volume is described as a “Companion to Irish Poets”, in other words a book through which one can companionably undertake an informed journey through Irish poetry, reading essays by accomplished and admired contributors.
Initially, after I posted an image of the anthology on Facebook, which also offered its contents list, there were a few comments. I was not alone in doing this, and Christine Murray, poet and editor of the blog Poethead, had already initiated a discussion. Gradually a group of women from diverse backgrounds – largely poets from all over Ireland, and several academics – gathered, motivated by the idea that a cogent response was necessary to the gender imbalance in this representation of Irish poets. (Read more here ...)
Media: Published / Digitised / Open Access
Irish Times Article, Feature
Title: 'A prosaic lack of women in the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets' by Mary O'Donnell
Cambridge Companion, Irish Poets, Women Poets, Teaching Editions, Field Day Anthology, Preamble, Irish Poetry, New Poetry, Women Writers